Friday, July 15, 2005

Winning the Ufological PR Battle

There has been an interesting debate on Paul Kimball's blog at http://redstarfilms.blogspot.com/2005/07/winning-ufological-pr-battle.html in response to Seth Shostak's latest pronouncement of the UFO subject - a to and thro between Paul, Owen and Rich. If you stand back and just look at the exchanges between them in their entirety, what you see and feel is what you always see and feel in discussions like that; frustration. Frustration at the fact that Ufology is still stuck in the same quagmire it's been stuck in for the last 50 years and that a new initiative is needed, a new leader maybe, but whatever, something has to be done to get this stupid subject to be taken seriously somewhere by someone.

We do this often. We vent. We rail against "science" for not taking an interest, for being scared to poke its nose in. We demand action. We flail around looking for a direction that can help us move on.

Any call for a collective, unified facade is an absolute waste of time. It's not an invalid suggestion by any means, far from it, and if it could be achieved, it might well achieve the desired affect that we want. But you have to be seriously kidding yourself if you think that any of the personalities in Ufology could even get close for a second to suppressing their own agendas and agreeing a common way forward. It will never happen in a million years.

And when someone brave enough tries to give it a go, what happens? We shoot him down and while he is wriggling on the floor, we dissect him and feed off the carcass for years to come. We have one obvious example to point to and that is Steven Greer.

Now, most of you reading the above line will mutter something like, "Ah but........" meaning Greer is a flawed example. After all, he did this, he said that, he tied Ufology in with other crackpot ideas, he ripped people off, and so on.Anybody that stepped forward as Greer did would attract the same level of intense interest and criticism. It would be different points of contention, different niggles, but unquestionably, that individual would be hacked down in some way and in some manner. That would be an absolute given. So one can hardly be surprised if the next messiah is biding his time and wondering if any effort would even be worth his while.

In Ufology, we criticise, attack, gossip, and bicker about everything and everyone. And why not? We are after all, not aliens but humans and we do what humans do.We're stuck. It will never happen. Well, actually it might but it won't be by any collective action. It will happen through one individual's research, or, possibly, a whistleblower of impeccable background and credentials.

Instead of grinding our dentures in frustration, we would be better off turning our gaze inwards and coming to terms with our own personal limitations. And, becoming comfortable with them. If we really were interested in moving forwards, we would have done that years ago. We're not interested. We enjoy the chase, the fighting and arguing, the personality clashes, the ego bruising, the sniping, the back stabbing, the feelings of self righteousness; in other words, we like having fun. Getting to The End wouldn't be fun. Where would we go after that?

Stuart Miller

12 Comments:

Blogger owendrab said...

Stuart,

Really appreciate this post.

You write:

"But you have to be seriously kidding yourself if you think that any of the personalities in Ufology could even get close for a second to suppressing their own agendas and agreeing a common way forward. It will never happen in a million years."

After discussing this with Rich Reynolds, and realising it myself, it's not a matter of trying to change people. Current ufologists have been doing their individualistic things for years now. It is now a matter of working with new people.

I believe that if one person is thinking about collective action, then there is the possibility for multiple people thinking about it. If I am thinking about collective work, and you are thinking about collective work, then that's two people, and that's all the evidence I need to believe that the possibility is a reality.

My questions for you are:

(1) Are you following your own advice and recommendations?

(2) If so, then what are you doing about it?

Many thanks.

take care, brad.

Friday, 15 July, 2005  
Blogger Stuart said...

Hi Owen,

Damn you sir! You're not meant to ask me difficult questions and put me on the spot!!

The straight answer to your two questions is, I think so but I'm not sure how objective I can be in answering that and it might be better for others to offer an opinion.

I am not a researcher and have no desire to become one. My principle activity is the editing and publication of an on-line ezine. I have a very open door policy and welcome and encourage articles written, in particular, by readers regardless of their own personal philosphy in relation to the subject. So there is no fixed philosophy for UFO Review and I guess you could say that in some respects, we reflect back to the community what they are thinking and feeling.

I do not charge for the zine so there is nothing prohibitive in the way from stopping access to it for anyone.

But the principle point you make is working with others and maybe finding a new way forward. In the sense that I would give somebody the editorial space to offer up a new idea etc., no question they can have it.

I do indeed have a personal agenda in relation to UFO Review which, quite simply, is to eventually take it into print. The bottom line for me here would be, could I be persuaded from doing that if somehow not doing so would benefit the cause of Ufology and would take it a step or two further forward? I'd need to be convinced, but in principle, yes. I think!

I look back on what I've written above and I'm not entirely convinced I've answered your points. If you feel that as well, then tell me and steer me in the direction of more specific points that need answering. Nail me to the floor.

Stuart

Friday, 15 July, 2005  
Blogger Paul Kimball said...

Stuart:

Contrary to what some might think, I for one don't enjoy any of the things you list, even as I agree that they're all present in ufology.

Brad is right - to a point. New people need to be encouraged to take a serious look at the subject. However, this doesn't mean that the likes of Friedman, Hall, Clark, Sparks etc should just be shunted off to the side, as Rich Reynolds has suggested. The new folks need to learn to value the work done by their elders - and the elders need to learn to value the passion, energy and new points of view brought by their successors.

And then everyone needs to stop lashing out at "the enemies" of ufology, and find areas of common ground - even with the SETI guys (I suggest one such area in a recent post over at the UFO Forum).

Paul

Friday, 15 July, 2005  
Blogger owendrab said...

Paul,

Here's my concern: an "old guard" researcher has established her name through articles, blog posts, books, etc. She has made money as an ufologist. If she wants to continue making money, then she will continue putting out books--written by herself. Suddenly, the concern for profit enters the picture.

I think this is one thing which has corrupted ufology and the old guard.

Honestly, researchers like Friedman will continue to do their thing regardless of what Rich, myself, or The UFO Collective does. Do I think Stanton Friedman is going to put aside his own work and potential profit for a collective, voluntary, and non-profit project with a twenty-year-old? Not likely.

Point is, I, and I think The UFO Collective, will study the work they've done; certainly ufological history needs to be examined. But will we deliberately make an effort to begin a long-term (decades long) project with individuals who have established themselves, who have no reason to change their ways, and shouldn't honestly be expected to?

The older bunch has to know they've done most of their work already, and at this point, they're repeating their methods.

So for someone like me, it makes more sense to change directions when ufology has clearly entered a slump.

And regarding common ground: how are you and the exopoliticians getting along?

take care, brad.

Friday, 15 July, 2005  
Blogger owendrab said...

Stuart,

Hmm... I think my question is now, if you've identified current ufologist mindsets as problematic, then wouldn't the appropriate action be to abandon those mindsets and pursue an entirely different way of studying UFOs?

I'm not saying you're of that current mindset--I don't think you are. But there's a difference between identifying a problem and acting to address that problem.

All evidence within culture, the media, and ufology points to the need for new priorities for ufologists; new methods; and new ways of working together.

I'm not going to make some suggestion for your online magazine which is only benefitting ufology. That's not my goal. My goal is to challenge you to think of a way to prove yourself wrong re: your belief that ufologists will never suppress their own agendas and work collectively.

It's counter-productive to know the problem and to live with it.

take care, brad.

Friday, 15 July, 2005  
Blogger Paul Kimball said...

Brad:

That's a low blow, but that's okay.

Exopolitics is a joke. I make no bones about saying so. When I talk about building bridges, and finding common ground, I'm talking about people who can differntiate between science fiction and fact.

But that's been my MO all along - move ufology closer to the mainstream, and away from the nuts. The very essence of liberalism, the very essence of a Third Way.

The exopolitics types - and guys like Klass and Menzel on the other extreme - are the ufological equivalent of the loony left and the far right in politics... and they have just as much relative value.

Paul

Friday, 15 July, 2005  
Blogger owendrab said...

Paul,

Low blow? Just testing you, that's all.

Out of respect to the generally uncertain nature of ufology, I don't dismiss exopolitics. But I understand your reasons for doing so, and they're persuasive.

take care, brad.

Friday, 15 July, 2005  
Blogger Paul Kimball said...

Brad:

Test away - I was just kidding about the "low blow" part! :-)

Paul

Friday, 15 July, 2005  
Blogger Kyle said...

Stuart -

One possible submission for you s posted at my blog.
A New Ufology?
I didn't compose it as an article, but it is freely available, and may offer at least a "launch point " for debate on this subject of bridging the old and the new in Ufology...or at least allowing co-existence without rancor.

Saturday, 16 July, 2005  
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